Georgia Austere in Fight against IS

The Counterterrorist Center of the Georgian State Security Service held a Georgian citizen, Davit Borchashvili, 29, on terrorism charges following his return to Georgia this week.

It says that Borchashvili was charged according to Article 238 of the Criminal Code of Georgia, pertaining to affiliation with a foreign terrorist organization or assisting a terrorist organization.

As Borchashvili’s lawyer Gela Nikolaishvili claimed, the young man had been in Syria, however, he rules out any ties with the Islamic State (IS).

Nikolaishvili told Rustavi 2 that his client has been connected to fighters against [Syrian President] Assad’s regime and the Islamic State. “This is a free army of Syria, which is supported by democratic western states,” said Nikolaishvili.

On Tuesday, Tbilisi City Court ordered the pre-trial detention of Davit Borchashvili on the basis of a reasonable doubt that the defendant may go into hiding and/or hinder the process of obtaining evidence. If found guilty, Davit Borchashvili will face imprisonment from 12 to 15 years.

Following the arrest of Borchashvili, alleged representatives of the so-called Islamic State (IS) released a video which showed fighters speaking in Georgian and addressing the Muslim population of Georgia. The fighters urged them to support the ‘Islamic Caliphate’.

The fighters threatened to establish a ‘Caliphate’ in Georgia. One of the extremists stated, “I would like to address the faithless people living in Georgia that have been fighting Islam for a long time. Everybody who has acted against Islam, no matter in Iraq or Afghanistan, will be judged by God’s law.”

The address, published on, emphasized that “God is very strict,” and called on people to stop persecuting Muslims. “Your actions against the Muslim will not remain unanswered. Everybody will be accountable for it.”

Another group of fighters threatened Muslim Khoja and Muftis living in Adjara (Georgia), accusing them of misleading people. “You will pay for what you have done. Be afraid of Allah,” the group stated.

Ilia Gobadze, a father of one of the fighters shown in the video, claimed that the video is aimed only at spreading panic and intimidating people. He boldly declared, “no one will come and blow us up.”

The head of the Press and Public Relations Department of the State Security Service, Nino Giorgobiani, posted an update on her Facebook page telling the Georgian media not to contribute to the spreading of the video footage via the internet.

“I ask the media not to contribute to spreading the threatening video footage via the internet for the sake of public security. The State Security Service is working on the issue. An investigation has already been launched,” Giorgobiani’s post read.


What threat could IS and those Georgian citizens contributing to the radical Islamist group pose to the country? Syria has become a battlefield for both power projection, fighting against terrorism, championing economic interests and speculating on the lives of hundreds of thousands of the dead since civil war broke out in Syria in 2011. The tension has solidified further since the Paris terrorist attack of November 13.

It seems that IS recruiters have found leverage among Georgia’s Muslim population. Since the Paris attack, the Government of Georgia has increased border control, and has prevented over 400 foreigners from entering the country during the last ten days. The government has announced that [they] will continue cooperation with Georgia’s international partners, including in the exchange of information.

Steven Jones

26 November 2015 20:33